THE RETURN OF THE MUD
On a cold, windy October Saturday, under leaden skies, pregnant with rain, our loyal volunteers gathered for our latest workday. And what a turnout. Featuring twelve adults, two toddlers, one dog, and our Park Ranger Neil, we set about our tasks in Three Cornered Copse.
The main work item was controlling the large leaf ivy which as been slowly taking over control of the lower part of the wooded copse. One of us has identified it as Persian Ivy (Hedera Colchica), one of the innocent garden centre plants that perhaps has been bought to cover a garden wall, but has spread into our parkland and competes with the native English Ivy. This type of ivy is fast growing and covers the ground rapidly, and climbs our trees. Some of the root stems we weeded out had the diameter of a drainpipe. We control it to preserve the diversity of the vegetation along the woodland floor and prevent its domination over the native ivy.
We seem to have a fascinating xenophobia about "invasive" species such as this ivy. Take the Spanish bluebell, the harlequin ladybird, Japanese knotweed and the demonised grey squirrel. All found their way, among many others, to our shores often assisted by a human agent of some vintage for some purpose. And all of these, incidentally, can be found in Three Cornered Copse, at the right time.
But given a few centuries, we tend to overlook their origin, and regard them as native. The rabbit, fallow deer and the house mouse were all introduced in the past but we now regard them as quintessentially British. It’s somewhat ironic that our native badgers are only the ones being culled, having been around for at least 250,000 years in these islands, according to fossil evidence.
We also cleared some of the growth of weeds around the silver birches in the copse, at the foot of the green, restoring the pathway through the middle alongside the coronation stone. As the pathways turn to mud, the more thoroughfares we can use help to avoid slipping and sliding through the tree roots.
As the slate grey sky yielded to a large dark cloud, the heavy rain began to fall persistently, and we all squelched back home through the mud. A huge thanks to our splendid volunteer team who braved the elements and the tea, coffee and biscuits which helped sustain our efforts.